The transformation of grocery shopping in the Netherlands
In the last couple of years, grocery shopping in the Netherlands has been transforming significantly. The number of supermarkets has increased, and it is estimated that about 100 physical supermarkets have entered the Dutch market annually. Moreover, even though the number of physical stores is still growing, online stores are rapidly taking over a significant part of the industry. In 2022, over 20% of people sometimes order online (Deloitte, 2022). However, why is the future of grocery delivery questionable, and how are the established supermarkets responding?
Flash delivery is a new term that was created only two years ago. The phenomenon of flash delivery started during the pandemic. The delivery companies promised to bring your groceries to your house within 10 minutes. In only a few months, the market grew tremendously, starting with Gorillas, followed by Flink, Getir and Zapp. However, even though the number of users is still growing, profits for the services are diminishing, and this is due to different reasons. One of the reasons is that after the pandemic, demand has gone down.
Moreover, due to the inflation of the last few months, people prefer to spend their money on groceries and find more economical options rather than just ordering whatever the flash deliverer has to offer, plus a delivery fee. Furthermore, there have been many complaints about the so-called ‘dark stores’, also known as distribution centres, and the many deliverers waiting around these stores and rapidly biking through the city. Amsterdam even banned new dark stores from the city centre, which is disastrous in the market, because delivery will take longer, and people will choose the supermarket over the flash service (RTL, 2023).
This does not mean that delivering groceries is not the future; on the contrary. The competitive advantage, however, lies more with the physical supermarkets. These stores are already located in the areas where many life, and because they sell on a bigger scale, purchasing should be more profitable. The big difference with flash delivery is that the supermarkets might be slower, but the question is if the consumer will mind greatly (RTL, 2023). Moreover, even with the rise of online delivery and flash deliveries, supermarkets are still growing profits, and the end of that does not seem near (De Ondernemer, 2023).
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